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Zen 2 Boosts Ryzen Performance

July 2, 2019

Author: Linley Gwennap

Offering superior performance and power efficiency relative to Intel’s best chips, AMD rolled out a broad lineup of new PC processors as part of its Ryzen 3000 family. Most of the new products employ the Zen 2 CPU design, an upgraded microarchitecture that, along with improvements in the memory subsystem, boosts per-clock performance (IPC) by 12–15%. Code-named Matisse, they also operate at faster clock speeds than the second-generation Ryzens thanks to a shrink from 12nm to 7nm transistors. AMD is the first company to ship 7nm PC processors. AMD plans to have Ryzen 3000 products in stores next week (7/7 for 7nm).

Matisse employs a chiplet approach. The CPU die contains eight Zen 2 cores with a total of 32MB of level-three (L3) cache. Like most Ryzens, the new processors target gamers who use high-performance graphics cards, so they omit an on-chip GPU. The north-bridge functions—the DRAM interface, PCI Express (PCIe), and other high-speed I/O—are segregated on a second die that connects to the CPUs through AMD’s cache-coherent Infinity Fabric. The company places both die in a single package that fits into the same AM4 socket as previous Ryzens. Matisse offers several upgrades, including double the L3 cache, double the PCIe speed (Gen4), and greater DRAM bandwidth.

The flagship Ryzen 9 3900X combines two CPU die and one I/O die, offering 12 cores at a peak frequency of 4.6GHz. The 3900X’s price and power are similar to those of Intel’s Core i9-9900K, but the Ryzen part has 50% more cores and delivers a sizable performance advantage. AMD announced several other Matisse models with prices as low as $199. It also rolled out two new “Picasso” products that combine the older 12nm Zen+ CPU with a Vega GPU. A 16-core Ryzen 9 3950X is due in September.

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